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What You Need:
- 2 Balloons
Have an adult help you light a candle that can sit safely on a table. Blow up one balloon and tie it closed. Hold the balloon a couple inches from the candle flame. What happens? It pops, of course.
Now take the second balloon. Fill it with water. Don’t fill it with so much water it starts to expand. This is not going to be a water balloon. Now take the balloon with water in it and blow it up the rest of the way. Tie it closed. Hold this balloon a couple inches above the candle flame. Does it pop? How long does it take?
Balloons are made out of rubber. Rubber heats up really fast so the first balloon pops fast. Water molecules take a long time to heat up. The heat from the candle is soaked up by the water inside the second balloon so that balloon does not pop right away.
Science Experiment Idea: Try different temperatures of water in the balloon. If the water is warmer it seems like the balloon would pop faster. Test it out and see. Try ice water, room temperature water and hot tap water (NOT too hot to touch!). Make sure you use three balloons that are exactly the same. Measure the same amount of water into each balloon. Hold each balloon the same distance away from the candle flame. Remember that you only want ONE variable in an experiment. The variable is the one thing that changes, in this case the variable is the temperature of the water. Use a stopwatch to time how long it takes for the balloon to pop.
Here are some websites and books to help you understand and experiment with the fireproof balloon:
- Rubber Bands and Heat 
- Solve the Mystery of the Unpoppable Balloon 
- The Fireproof Balloon 
- Purdue: The Fireproof Balloon Demonstration 
- Science at Home: Fireproof Balloon 
- Science Made Simple: Fireproof Balloon 
Words to Know:
Heat – To increase in temperature.